The organisers of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organisation, announced a new alliance with Shimano. Shimano will provide funding for both men’s and women’s races organised by ASO, beginning with the first stage of Paris-Nice on March 7.
The transfer of Shimano into neutral service brings the 43-year stint of Mavic as neutral support at Le Tour to an end. The loss of Paris-famous Roubaix’s yellow neutral service cars and yellow scrambler bikes will mark the end of an age for many.
While the blue car may not be as popular as the classic yellow Mavic support vehicles, with 20 years of experience providing support at countless races, Shimano is no stranger to neutral service. In reality, Shimano is already an ASO long-term partner, providing neutral service at another ASO event called La Vuelta. This extended relationship means that at La Course, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Paris Tours, we can now see Shimano mechanics chasing breakaways and changing wheels.
ASO’s mass engagement activities, like the Etape du Tour and Roc d’Azur, are also part of the collaboration. Participants in these events would be able to tap into the knowledge of Shimano mechanics in the event of a mechanical event.